#AWPSpringJAM May Kickoff

May 8, 2023

A black and white photo of James Alan McPherson standing in front of a bridge

During the #AWP23 conference, we announced that the AWP Prize for the Novel would be renamed the James Alan McPherson Prize for the Novel, in honor of the prolific writer and professor emeritus James Alan McPherson. This new endowment directly supports the prize; each year an emerging novelist will be awarded $5,500 and publication with the University of Nebraska Press.

Mark your calendars for Thursday, May 11! The first donor of every hour of our #AWPSpringJAM campaign will win the item listed for that hour. Make sure to follow us on Twitter for updates on donation progress and the items already awarded to the first donor of the hour.

Donations of any denomination can be made through our website. Visit our Award Series page to learn more about other endowments AWP provides to support and uplift writers.


James Alan McPherson was the first African American to win a Pulitzer Prize for fiction for his short story collection Elbow Room. He held degrees from Morris Brown College, Harvard Law School, and the Iowa Writers’ Workshop. In addition to the Pulitzer Prize, he received many literary prizes and was selected as one of the first MacArthur Fellows, also known as the genius awards. He was inducted into the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 1995.

Read more about the JAM endowment in our Press Room.

A collection of items from James Alan McPherson's personal collection


JAM Kickoff Schedule:

12 noon ET – the first donor to give $50 or more will win a set of business cards in excellent condition handmade by James Alan McPherson himself


1 p.m. – the first two donors who give $50 or more will win a James Alan McPherson T-shirt (one S & one XL)


2 p.m. ET – the first donor to give $125 or more will win Crabcakes: A Memoir


3 p.m. ET – the first donor to give $125 or more will win A Region Not Home: Reflections from Exile


4 p.m. ET – the first donor to give $75 or more will win an Iowa Writers’ Workshop Cookbook featuring a James Alan McPherson recipe!


5 p.m. – the first seven donors to give $75 or more will win Elbow Room, a new Spanish translation reprint of McPherson’s Pulitzer Prize winning collection of short fiction



·      Coltrane albums,

·      Elbow Room (first edition)

·      Japanese paper art

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May 16, 2023

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